“The purpose of education is social upliftment, renouncing negativity and leading a fulfilling life that transforms the earth into a heaven,” Prof Lal said. Talking about the virtues of peace and harmony in society, he said that when the world was busy waging wars, Prime Minister Narendra Modi remained engaged in giving vaccines (to fight the pandemic) and committed himself to spreading the message of amity in society.
Country director (India) of British Council Alison Barrett commended the role of KIIT and its Founder Dr Achyuta Samanta for education and playing a significant role in the socio-economic development of the poor and the tribals of Odisha. She hailed KIIT’s transformation as nothing short of ‘grass to gold’. Barrett, in particular, praised the objectives of KISS in promoting the multi-lingual language for the spread of education and winning the UNESCO Literacy Prize in 2022 for this endeavour.
She said that the British Council was committed to supporting the shared future of both India and the UK in the fields of online education, research and collaboration and also supporting the traditional crafts sector that employs 200 million Indians.
The Global Chief Affairs Officer of Times Higher Education Phil Baty highlighted the remarkable journey of KIIT which has become one of the prominent centres of higher education in just 25 years of its existence. He underlined the Times Higher Education report of 2022 that has placed KIIT at the 8th position in the world in tackling inequality. KIIT, he said, is among the few universities in India which have done remarkably well in the field of research.
Talking about the overall rankings, he said Indian institutes are well represented in the ranking surveys, adding that the rankings give the institutes an opportunity to spread their visibility and an opportunity for potential collaboration with other universities.
The Founder of KIIT and KISS Dr Samanta spoke about the transformation of KIIT from a two-room institute to becoming one of the largest universities in the country and its contribution to tribal empowerment. He said that KIIT’s education model is aligned towards inclusive education where every student is given equal opportunity to excel in academics. “We are not confined to education only, we are serving the society as well,” he said. The theme of the conference, he added, is relevant, especially at a time when the Covid pandemic has brought major disruptions in the academic landscape.
KIIT Vice Chancellor Prof Sasmita Samanta said education is vital because knowledge is life and it helps individuals develop good values. About Times Higher Education, she said it is providing a platform to recognize talents among universities and encourage the institutes to perform with confidence at the global level.
The conference is being attended by academicians from India and outside along with key functionaries from the British Council and Times Higher Education.